Mommy Struggle #1

So in this “mommy struggle” series, let’s talk about the things that test all moms’ patience, drive all mommys crazy and make all of us want to give up and crawl back into bed. But won’t. Because we’re moms and our husbands and kids won’t let us.

I bring you the dreaded: “Why can’t I lose this baby weight?”

Well I don’t have the answer, not really anyway. But I do have words of advice. Don’t give up. Especially if it really means a lot to you. As a fitness professional, the pressure to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight was something I felt every time I looked in my closet and tried to find something to wear. I worked out here and there but nothing as consistent as before I was pregnant. I always had an excuse I guess. Too tired. No time. The baby won’t sleep. The key is to find your motivation, whatever it is, and use it to eliminate the excuses. Since I was fortunate enough to stay home this past year with my son you would think I had all the time in the world to get in shape. Well, running after a one year old is a lot harder than I thought and running after him doesn’t burn as many calories as you think. Big disappointment.

But it’s ok because my motivation just reared it’s head: first, a wedding coming up and then a Mardi Gras ball. 2 occasions where I would need to dress up, wash my hair and look presentable instead of wearing baby food stained shirts and sweatpants. I could do this. I wanted to do this. I needed something that was going to give me the added push. Something aside from being upset about all the clothes I couldn’t fit into. So I gave myself a few small tasks to complete each day. I would clean one room of the house, I would work out for at least 20 minutes everyday while the baby slept and I would set aside time to work on my blog. If I didn’t get to one of those things, well I would try to do it the next day and maybe for longer. Giving yourself small goals makes it a little easier to get to the bigger goal.

Another thing to remember is to go at your own pace. It’s been 14 months since I’ve had my baby and I’m just now starting to see results. I have to keep in mind that my body is completely different and not necessarily bad different, just different. That doesn’t mean I can’t lose weight, it’s just going to be a little different from what I did before.

Here I am now after 14 months 👆🏽

And here is what I was before 👇🏽

I haven’t given up and I haven’t forgotten that I gave birth to a human and it could possibly take a long time to come back from that. Each delivery is different, each body is different. It’s ok, moms who are struggling out there, we’re all in this together!

What are some things that helped you get your pre-pregnancy bod back or are you still on the struggle bus?

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Mommy Guilt

You may or may not have heard of this before or never paid too much attention to it. And why would you? Unless you've experienced it personally, there's really no need to care too much about it. As a new mom, everything is a new experience. Even things you've done your whole life are completely different now that you're a mom. And inevitably, someone, anyone, will try and make you feel guilty about the way you do things.

My goal in writing this is not to put anyone down but merely to educate and give others a different perspective about this sensitive issue.

So let's first go through the types of mom guilt that I've come across. Now when I say "guilt", I'm referring to other people voicing their comments to in turn try to make you feel guilty for your actions. You moms out there know what I mean…

1. The stay at home guilt– whether you decide to stay home permanently, a year or a few months, you should never, I repeat, never feel guilty for it. It's a decision to be made by you and your spouse, if you have one, and no one else. I have a hard time with this one since I'm currently staying home with my baby, who's about to turn one next week. I have definitely felt the guilt for this one. Whether it's someone saying "wow you got to stay home that long! I had to go back to work after 6 weeks!" Or "what do you do all day? I mean babies sleep a lot right?" Or even your spouse who may not entirely understand everything that goes into being a stay at home mom. Add in the "wife" duties like dinner and laundry and cleaning….it can take your sanity and throw it right out the window. In fact, I find myself so delirious at times that I become easily aggravated and short tempered. I can't help it. I can't control it. It just bubbles out of me. Every other day I feel like what I'm doing doesn't matter to anyone, when in reality it's one of the hardest and most important jobs anyone can have. Raising a child is hard and not just raising any child but a well adjusted, decent and nice human being. I'm not throwing shade on working moms. I'll be one soon and we all know them and love them (see #2 below 👇🏽) and I know not everyone is able to stay home. Lots of moms have to go back to work sooner because of the enormous financial impact having kids puts on families. I consider myself and others who were able to stay home extremely lucky and I think we all know it. That doesn't, however, give others the right to project their jealousy onto the stay at home mom. I think if it came down to it, given the choice, all mothers would pick staying home with their babies for an extended amount of time over going back to work. Every. Single. Time. So until we have a health care system that enables family leave as a necessity versus a luxury, let's uplift and support our stay at home moms rather than tear them down because they can do what others can't.
2. The working mom guilt– on the flip side I know there are moms out there who feel like they should be at home with their babies. For whatever reason they can't be and they feel like they're missing out. I applaud those who juggle both, because it's hard to even get out of the house to run to the store much less get up and have to look presentable for work. Moms who work are no better or worse than those who don't. It's a choice that not everyone gets to make and it has to work for your situation. We also shouldn't feel bad for those that have to work. Lots of people don't want to stay home. They feel bored (I don't see how that's possible) or they miss their work. Whatever the reason, supporting the decision of moms and their rights to pick either option should be the only thing we talk about.
3. The breastfeeding vs. formula guilt– ok this one seems to be one that lots of moms are facing these days. I think about 50% is how you were raised and the other is random circumstances that happen once you try to nurse i.e. once you try to nurse the baby has trouble latching or there's some medical reason that hinders the natural ease of breastfeeding right at birth. In my situation, I was breastfed until I was 2, my sister nursed both her boys until they were 2 and 3 so I just assumed it would be super easy for me. Well it wasn't, and it was way more challenging than I thought and in the early days, that first week, I had to supplement with formula and I felt like the worse person in the world. Why? I have no idea. As long as your baby is eating it shouldn't matter. Well the guilt rears it's ugly head again. I abandoned my preconceived notions about formula vs. breastfeeding and came to the realization that as long as you're doing your best to make sure your baby is getting the nutrients he or she needs, don't listen to anyone else. No one should feel guilty for breastfeeding and no one should feel guilty for using formula. It's easier said than done. I know.

As a mom you do what you have to do. And I've found that things almost never go the way you planned when it comes to pregnancy and beyond.

What challenges have you faced with having a newborn? I would love to know I'm not the only one out there!

The Ever Changing Post-Partum Body

In an earlier post I talked about some of the things I was doing to workout post baby. Now that’s it’s 8 months later, some of those things have fallen by the waste side. I always feel like something else is in the way.  I blamed the holidays, Mardi Gras, the rainy weather. Not to mention when you live in Louisiana and there’s crawfish season and festivals approaching, procrastination is inevitable. 

However all is not lost. I’m making some progress…this is me at 6 weeks, 11 weeks and 6 months post partum ( I can’t look đź‘€):

This is me today. Compared to the other pics on the right.

I haven’t done a traditional workout in about 6 weeks but I am very active around the house and in my garden. I’m trying not to be discouraged! And for those that are breastfeeding, it really does help shed some pounds. It’s not as drastic as a cleanse or anything, but every week I drop another pound or so. However, I feel like I’m stuck in a rut, so I need to step my game up. Everything I do now is such a hassle though. Jumping in the car and going to the gym requires a week of planning…pumping, packing a bag for the baby if I’m dropping him off at my mom’s or making sure there’s enough milk and/or baby food. Whew. It’s enough to make me give up on leaving the house. So I’m coming up with some things to do at home along with some fun outings with the baby. 

Play date in City Park once a month with another mom friend

 

The main thing is finding my motivation and not giving up. As a “pre-pregnancy” fitness professional, how can I help others if I’ve given up and won’t help myself? Every time I put on leggings (because I refuse to buy jeans since I can’t fit the ones I used to wear), I think “ugh, it would be nice to switch it up”. And every time I put on my maternity jeans (yes, I can still wear them and it pains me to look at them now considering I’m NOT pregnant), I think “ugh I shouldn’t be wearing these”. So that’s my motivation. I’m taking each day as a new start. Summer is coming and it’s too hot in Louisiana for leggings. I’m not giving up on using my treadmill everyday either. It’s a goal that I haven’t stuck with because it seems so daunting. Our workout room has become baby storage center and it’s not very conducive for exercise motivation. The treadmill still works though and it’s been staring at me and giving me the evil eye. So I’m setting a small goal for just 30 minutes everyday where I can adapt as I go along. 

Being with my baby these past months has been amazing and I wouldn’t trade a second of it, but now it’s time to get back to my old body. If I can’t do anything about the giant breastfeeding boobs, I can lose the 5 month pregnant looking stomach, right? It’s not entirely unrealistic. You just have to be patient and take your time. It took 9 months to get there and you can’t lose it overnight. 

What are some things that have helped you lose the baby weight? I’m always open to hearing new things. 

Stay healthy!

Dressing for Your Post-Partum Body

Now that a rhythm is being established between me and the little one, I’m motivated to get my body back to the way it was, or better! The hardest part is looking in the mirror and seeing this body that doesn’t look or feel the same. It’s upsetting that it’s 4 months after the baby and I can’t fit any of my pre-baby clothes and I can still wear my maternity shorts! So as my mother always says, you have to dress the body you have now. But one thing I won’t do is buy new size “whatever” jeans. Can’t do it. So like many of you out there, leggings have become my new best friend. I decided if I was going to wear them then I would invest in some. But not just any leggings: I stumbled on a brand called Blanqi (www.blanqi.com) and found their nursing leggings. They’re amazing!! They are soft, comfortable and high waisted. In fact, they go all the way up to the bottom of your bra so that you can nurse without your stomach showing. You can wear them to workout, to shop, to work or just to lay around the house with the baby!

 

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I wish I had known about them when I was pregnant because they have maternity support wear as well which I definitely could have used. I highly recommend checking their site out if you are pregnant or nursing. And what’s even better than the product is the great customer service, which to me is just as important. I had an issue with my leggings that I purchased and they sent me a replacement pair with no problem. And because the leggings will adjust to my changing body, these are perfect for pregnancy and after.

So the tops that I like the best to go over these leggings: the Piko top. I got mine from a local boutique here in New Orleans called Blink (shopblinkboutique.com, @blinkboutiques). However, these tops are nothing new. They’ve been around but until I was pregnant, I didn’t know too much about them. In the early stages, when you look more like you have a food baby instead of a few weeks pregnant, I was in search of something comfortable and loose fitting but still cute. These tops and dresses are a bamboo blend and in my opinion the most versatile item you can get for the changes your body will undergo.

piko

piko2

These are 2 of the trends for moms-to-be and moms on the go that work the best for me but as long as you’re comfortable, wear whatever you like!

Stay healthy,

Nola Fit Chick

XOXO

Pre-eclampsia, Motherhood & Fitness: How I’m Managing It All

It’s been 3 months since my last post and to say a lot has happened is an understatement. On my last doctor appointment, 9 days before my due date back in August (4 days after my last post), I was told that I had pre-eclampsia and would have to go in to deliver my baby. I was shocked and terrified. I wasn’t ready! I had a nail appointment to get to! I had errands to run and the baby’s room to finish! I was so confused as to how I got pre-eclampsia. The doctors couldn’t tell me how I got it either. It happens in healthy women some of whom never have had high blood pressure such as myself. No one could tell me if I would get it again if I were to have another baby. It was all very bizarre. Well, since I had no intention of having my baby that day (and neither did my baby have any intention of arriving early) it took almost 3 days to deliver. Once I left the hospital, I had to go right back because my newborn had developed jaundice and I was in yet another hospital for another 4 days, all with pneumonia and swollen legs and feet. I was stressed beyond belief but after a couple weeks getting back to myself, I was able to finally enjoy motherhood and my new baby that I waited so long to meet.

These past 3 months have been challenging: getting used to breastfeeding, getting used to this new post-baby body, no sleep, feeling overwhelmed. Every time I look at his face and he smiles at me, everything that happened fades away and makes it all worthwhile.

The best part is that now that I feel back to normal and I’m not going back to work for awhile, I can workout and focus on getting my body back to it’s pre-baby condition.

rehearsal

Me and my husband Travis at our wedding rehearsal a month and a half before I got pregnant

 

Sometimes I walk on the treadmill with him in my baby carrier. Sometimes we go to the park. If I really want a more intense workout (well intense for me now), my mom will watch him for me so I can take my time. Right now, I’m mostly walking at different inclines and speeds and 3 weeks ago I started to incorporate light weights and strength training. It’s still an ongoing battle because I’m still feeling really tired but I’ve gone from 2-3 hours of sleep a night to 8-9 hours (not all at once) which is making my days better. The workouts help out with my energy level for the rest of the day as well.

me-and-baby-on-treadmill

Me at 6 weeks post partum. Little Travis is fast asleep!!

 

I went from being 222lbs at delivery (the most I’ve ever weighed in my whole life!) to 182lbs now. It’s been a struggle but making sure I eat enough calories to continue breastfeeding my baby as well as exercising at least 3 days a week if not more is my first step!

The above pictures are for educational purposes only! I normally would never show these but I figure it can give someone hope. 🙂 The left picture is at 6 weeks post partum and the right one was last week at 11 weeks post partum.

Let me know how you did after giving birth and what worked for you.

Stay healthy,

Nola Fit Chick

xoxo

 

 

Clothes Make the (Wo)Man During Pregnancy

As my pregnancy progresses (I’m now 38 weeks!) and living in Louisiana, the heat and humidity in the summer is getting me down. Not only am I getting bigger physically, but I’m hot, irritable and my feet are so swollen half the time they look like they’ve been bitten by a poisonous spider. I haven’t had many meltdowns, but the mood swings are prevalent. The things to remember are that I need to stay positive because I know once the baby comes, I’ll miss every kick he makes, including the ones in the middle of the night and the feeling of being part of something so miraculous.

Finding comfortable, stylish clothing is key to keeping your sanity. I didn’t think that I would feel as uncomfortable as I do being pregnant. I really thought I would be one of those really cute skinny moms with a belly. And boy do I feel stupid for thinking I was fat pre-pregnancy, because I clearly misjudged how big I could get. And yes, I know I’m not fat, I’m pregnant but it’s still hard to see those numbers on the scale inching higher and higher. Your body is constantly changing from day to day. As someone who watched her weight on a regular basis, I’ve come to the realization that I can’t let the numbers on the scale get to me. Not this time. Being healthy for my baby is the only thing that matters. So even though I’ve gotten a couple of maternity jeans (which I’ve given up on wearing now that we’re in the midst of one of the hottest Southern summers), maternity shorts and dresses, I find myself trying to focus on things that are more form fitting and comfortable because for me, the baggier the clothes the bigger I look. Comfort is key. Now a days, maternity sites are everywhere and there are lots of retailers that carry maternity sections along with non-maternity sizes. Some awesome sites that I’ve found are Pink Blush Maternity (www.pinkblushmaternity.com) which is a new one I stumbled upon and old faves like Old Navy (www.oldnavy.com) and Target (www.target.com). I’ve even found some great dresses at Destination Maternity (www.destinationmaternity.com) that have become my go-tos. Wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable and not so matronly go a long way in making you feel better about yourself. There are so many options out there for cute maternity clothes, we really have no excuse.

Here are some of my faves:

oldnavy

Old Navy black and white striped midi dress

 

The ones above are from Pink Blush Maternity. Moms to be, if you like these dresses, I’m doing a giveaway!!!! Go to my Instagram and Twitter pages for more details on how you can win a $75 gift card for the amazing Pink Blush site!

destinationm1

Destination Maternity racerback maxi

destinationm2

Destination Maternity maxi

 

Even though I haven’t been in the mood to take pics, I wanted to show that there are really cute things out there for pregnant women to wear. You may not think so now, but one day we will look back on your pregnancy and wish you had memories of the amazing feeling of carrying your child to look back on. You may not feel your best all of the time because let’s face it, who does?  Take each day at a time and try and do something relaxing and enjoyable every day, because once the baby comes, all your time and focus will be on the new blessing that you’re now in charge of. Don’t try to overdo it and enjoy your pregnancy because it’s a beautiful thing and so are you.

Hang in there and be well!

XOXO

***Rules for giveaway on Instagram and Twitter:

You must follow @nolafitchick and @pinkblushmaternity or @shoppinkblush as well as like the photo on Instagram and tag a friend to be considered for the giftcard. Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.

A Week of Healthy Lunches & Snacks

I always hear that eating healthy is hard because it’s expensive, time consuming and labor intensive. Well, it really doesn’t have to be. I know, it’s easy for me to say because I’m not working anymore and have a lot more free time than I used to. But actually, I’m finding that I just didn’t make the time. Same goes for exercise. We can make excuses for anything but once you start, it becomes easier and easier and more a part of your daily routine. Plus you feel better and that makes you want to continue.

Here’s what I’ve found to be my faves:

Sunday

  • Snack: We’ve discovered the veggie tray from Sam’s Club is perfect for snacking. Of course, you could buy each individual item but it’s so much easier to buy it like this and it tastes super fresh. It comes with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, snap peas and cherry tomatoes with a greek yogurt ranch dip and is perfect when you want a snack but don’t want anything too heavy before a meal. Veggie trays, not just for parties anymore!

veggie tray

  • Lunch: Chicken salad sandwiches. We buy the rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, cut it up and I add Kraft olive oil mayo, creole mustard, a chopped up boiled egg, onions, celery (whatever you like to add to your tuna or chicken salads), a little salt and pepper and there you have a quick and easy and healthy chicken salad to make sandwiches with or to eat with crackers.

Monday

  • Snack: I like Belvita or Nature’s Valley breakfast bars. They are a perfect mid-day pick me up.

 

  • Lunch: Another option I like is to make a couple of meals on the weekend and then take them to lunch throughout the week. One of my faves is lasagna. Easy to make, and easy to take with you. Lasagna is extremely versatile. You can put whatever you want in them and you can make as many as you want and freeze them for later. I recently made a ground turkey lasagna (recipe on the blog) and it was amazing!

Tuesday

  • Snack: Granola bars. My fave is the Kind bars and the flavor I like the best is the blueberry vanilla and cashew fruit and nut bars.

Kind_bar_blueberry_vanilla_cashew1

  • Lunch: The easiest and probably most tried-salad. I like to grab a Tupperware container and throw all the veggies I like into it. I add romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, sometimes the chicken salad that I talked about earlier or just baked chicken cut into strips. Salads can be whatever you want. Add a low fat dressing of your choice on the side and you’ve got a great and satisfying lunch.

Wednesday

  • Snack: Thanks to Pinterest I’ve found a tasty dip for fruit. Depending on what your fruit of choice is (mine happens to be Honeycrisp apples at the moment), slice fruit and then add them to this great dip made with greek yogurt (I like Dannon light and fit vanilla greek yogurt), peanut butter (or an almond butter), honey and cinnamon. Trust me, you’ll love it!

apples and dip

  • Lunch: If you’re ever in the Uptown New Orleans area and get the opportunity to have food made by Green To Go (@greentogonola, 400 Poydras, 504.460.3160), don’t pass it up. As I said before, I’ve recently stopped working but when I did, I worked part-time at a boutique on Magazine Street. Gia the Green To Go lady would come by Wednesdays and Fridays with lunch, mostly salads, wraps and hummus. All fresh and homemade. We looked forward to those days because we knew we were going to get something healthy and tasty to eat and the best part was she came to you. No one had to leave to go find lunch. From watermelon salad to chicken caeser wraps to beet hummus, Gia has something for everyone. My personal fave is the Barre 3 salad with tuna, cannelloni beans, kale, carrots, parmesan and a caesar vinagrette that is out of this world and vegan friendly.

Thursday

  • Snack: Fruit. Best snack ever and you can’t go wrong. Just pick what you like. Top choices right now since it’s summer-watermelon, cherries, strawberries, apples, oranges/satsumas or any kind of berry.
  • Lunch: Soups-also easy if you’re buying them already made or you can make your own and freeze the leftovers. I just made a shrimp and corn bisque in the crockpot (recipe on blog) that my husband loves. It’s cheap to make  and easy to transport.

Friday

Snacks: Nuts or trail mix- I’ve posted my favorite before. The Wild Roots trail mix I’ve only found at Sam’s Club and it’s a hit in my house. I’ve also discovered a brand of dark chocolate covered nuts at Walmart called Nature’s Harvest that is the perfect sweet treat when you have a sugar craving.
IMG_1561

Lunch: Wraps.This can also be a great lunch option for those on the run or a good make ahead meal for the next day. Since I’m pregnant, I’ve been staying  away from deli meat but you can fill a wrap with anything you like or just veggies. Chicken salad, tuna salad, turkey, the sky’s the limit! And they’re good and portable to take on the go. If you are in the New Orleans area my favorite places to get a wrap other than Whole Foods is City Greens (www.eatcitygreens.com), Fresh Bar (www.freshbarnola.com) and the Pita Pit (www.pitapitusa.com).

Saturday

Snacks: Not sure if this classifies as a snack but my favorite treat to indulge in during my pregnancy (and even before) is Pinkberry. Oh how I love frozen yogurt! It’s one of the hottest summers here in Louisiana and short of staying inside all day long, the second best thing to cool you off is some kind of frozen treat. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good snoball but it’s not the healthiest option. Pinkberry has a new coconut non-dairy flavor that is so good I didn’t even know it was non-dairy. The best part is putting your favorite toppings on it. I usually go with fruit and sometimes Nutella. Go crazy! If there’s no Pinkberry in your area, I’ve found these fruit and veggie popsicles (I know it sounds weird) that are perfect anytime. Found at your local grocery store, Outshine Fruit and Veggies Popsicles are made from real fruit and vegetables so you don’t feel bad about eating sweets!

popsicle

Lunch: Panera-Whenever I’m in a hurry and want something filling but comforting I go to Panera. Most of them have drive thru windows or rapid pick up that let’s you buy it before hand and just run in and grab it. It’s better for you than fast food with options like kale caesar salads with chicken or a vegetarian summer corn chowder. It’s really one of the best options for those that are on the go or really whenever you’re in the mood for good food.

 

Hope this helps. Of course, these are just my suggestions and there are tons more out there. What are some healthy options that you like to eat?

Stay Healthy!

XOXO